A 12,000-yr pollen record off Cape Hatteras — Pollen sources and mechanisms of pollen dispersion

TitleA 12,000-yr pollen record off Cape Hatteras — Pollen sources and mechanisms of pollen dispersion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsNaughton, F, Keigwin, L, Peteet, D, Costas, S, Desprat, S, Oliveira, D, de Vernal, A, Voelker, A, Abrantes, F
JournalMarine Geology

Integrating both marine and terrestrial signals from the same sediment core is one of the primary challenges for understanding the role of ocean–atmosphere coupling throughout past climate changes. It is therefore vital to understand how the pollen signal of a given marine record reflects the vegetation changes of the neighboring continent. The comparison between the pollen record of marine core JPC32 (KNR178JPC32) and available terrestrial pollen sequences from eastern North America over the last 12,170 years indicates that the pollen signature off Cape Hatteras gives an integrated image of the regional vegetation encompassing the Pee Dee river, Chesapeake and Delaware hydrographic basins and is reliable in reconstructing the past climate of the adjacent continent. Extremely high quantities of pollen grains included in the marine sediments off Cape Hatteras were transferred from the continent to the sea, at intervals 10,100–8800 cal yr BP, 8300–7500 cal yr BP, 5800–4300 cal yr BP and 2100–730 cal yr BP, during storm events favored by episodes of rapid sea-level rise in the eastern coast of US. In contrast, pollen grains export was reduced during 12,170–10,150 cal yr BP and 4200–2200 cal yr BP, during episodes of intense continental dryness and slow sea level rise episodes or lowstands in the eastern coast of US. The near absence of reworked pollen grains in core JPC32 contrasts with the high quantity of reworked material in nearby but deeper located marine sites, suggesting that the JPC32 record was not affected by the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC) since the end of the Younger Dryas and should be considered a key site for studying past climate changes in the western North Atlantic.